How Orphan Drug Policy Could Impede Access To COVID-19 Treatments
Many drugs being evaluated to treat or prevent COVID-19 are orphan drugs approved to treat a rare disease. Because orphan drugs typically face little competition, their prices are often very high, potentially leading to affordability challenges for hospitals, insurers, and patients. Additionally, sponsors of orphan drugs do not have to provide discounts to certain safety-net hospitals participating in the 340B Drug Pricing Program, many of which were struggling already before the pandemic caused unprecedented revenue disruption. In this Health Affairs blog post, Dr. Kao-Ping Chua suggest reforms to mitigate price-related barriers to accessing orphan drugs that are re-purposed for COVID-19.